UC Davis materials science and engineering research was featured on the American Ceramic Society (ACerS) website in a recent article. The study, led by doctoral student Arseniy Bokov in Ricardo Castro’s Nanoceramics Thermochemistry Lab, looked at grain boundaries in nanocrystalline ceramics with the goal of improving toughness. The mechanical stability of these materials is important for the performance of battery electrodes and capacitors.
Nanocrystalline ceramics, though highly desirable for a variety of applications, characteristically lack the toughness of other ceramic materials and are therefore more prone to fracture. Since materials fracture is caused by high levels of friction in grain-to-grain interfaces, the team studied grain boundary networks in these materials to better understand how they work.
They confirmed the existence of both weak and strong grain interfaces in a single material and then focused on reducing local energies and improving toughness on the weaker boundaries. They observed a 20 percent increase in toughness across the material, which is an important step towards creating more reliable monolithic ceramics.
Read the article on the ACerS website and the full publication in the September 2018 Journal of the European Ceramic Society, Volume 38, Issue 12, pages 4260-7.